Barbara Jelavich Book Prize

2021 Recipient

Francine Hirsch

Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal After World War II

The Barbara Jelavich Book Prize, established in 1995 and sponsored by the Jelavich estate, is awarded annually for a distinguished monograph published on any aspect of Southeast European or Habsburg Studies since 1600, or nineteenth and twentieth- century Ottoman or Russian diplomatic history in the previous calendar year.

Winner: Francine Hirsch
Title: Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal After World War II (Oxford University Press)

This groundbreaking book, superbly written and expertly crafted, offers a wide-ranging account of the Soviet role in the Nuremberg Trials based on original research into this large and ambitious topic. Working from untapped Soviet archives, Hirsch focuses her masterful narrative on the Soviet state’s post-World War II struggle to “win the peace” even as the Cold War deepened. Hirsch’s research exposes the challenges and predicaments faced by the Soviet legal team as they worked alongside their American, British, and French counterparts to expose Nazi crimes against humanity – while at the same time trying to camouflage Soviet crimes, such as the Katyn massacre, which they awkwardly tried to add to the long balance sheet of Nazi atrocities. Hirsch brings to life the day-to-day workings of the Stalinist bureaucracy as Soviet lawyers, correspondents, and translators managed the shifting expectations of their superiors in Moscow, sorted through piles of evidence, drafted their cases, and hosted parties for the other prosecutorial teams. The author skillfully balances details of the shocking trial testimony about Nazi war crimes with intimate and humane portraits of the people involved with the trial. The book thoroughly revises the standard Cold War-era narrative of Nuremberg, which scarcely recognizes the Soviet contribution to the proceedings. Hirsch’s unearthing of the full story of Nuremberg transforms our understanding of global legal history and human rights in the twentieth century.

Honorable Mention: Dominique Kirchner Reill